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On Tuesday, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) became the 20th senator to sign on to the CARERS Act (S. 683). With the news, Franken has become the second senator on the Judiciary Committee in recent months to become a CARERS cosponsor, joining Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC). Last month, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also became a cosponsor. Franken also joins Judiciary member Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who became a cosponor last July.
The CARERS Act currently is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Chuck Grassley has refused to give it a hearing. With growing support among Judiciary Committee senators, it will become more difficult for Grassley to continue to block the bill. ASA is currently organizing petition in Grassley home state of Iowa to urge him to give the bill a markup hearing with a vote.
A few weeks ago, Senator Franken was asked about the CARERS Act during a radio interview in which he seemed to be unaware of the bill. ASA staff provided his office with information on the bill as well as the results of the recent Minnesota medical marijuana patient survey. The survey found that about 2/3rds of program participants saying they are get "significant" relief from medical marijuana, while another 1/4th are getting "mild-to-moderate" relief. The executive summary of the survey concludes by saying,
"Early survey results from the Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program suggest that many patients have experienced substantial benefit from medical cannabis through the program...Furthermore, reported negative effects from medical cannabis use were generally minor, suggesting that medical cannabis treatment has been a safe option for most patients in the program so far."
ASA applauds Senator Franken for coming on board to the CARERS Act. You can thank him by calling his office at (202) 224-5641 and leaving a brief message of thanks for standing up to protect the patients of Minnesota and the rest of the nation's medical cannabis patient population. Additionally, you can take action to urge your Members of Congress to sign onto CARERS here.